Documentary on early radiation experiments in southern Indiana

JASPER, Ind. - The Vincennes University Jasper Campus will host a screening of the documentary “Hole in the Head: A Life Revealed,” followed by a discussion with the author, Wilbert Smith.  The event will take place on Nov. 8, 6:30 p.m. (EST), in the Lecture Hall of the Nursing Classroom Building.  Admission is free and the public is invited to attend.

Smith wrote the book and created the documentary, along with director Brett Leonard, about the radiation experiments conducted in 1927 on black children at Lyles Station, Indiana.  These experiments are part of a largely unexamined legacy of illegal human experimentation, much of it conducted on African-Americans, other minorities, and prisoners.

The 2009 documentary tells the story of one of these children, the late Vertus Hardiman.  The experiments, which literally took off Hardiman’s scalp, were misrepresented as a newly developed cure for the scalp fungus known as ringworm.  In reality, the ringworm fungus was merely the lure used to gain access to innocent children whose unsuspecting parents blindly signed permission slips for the treatment.

This award-winning documentary is a compelling, highly moving, human interest story that vividly conveys the triumph of the human spirit’s example of tremendous moral character overcoming horrific crimes of medical experimentation.  “Hole in the Head: A Life Revealed” documents how the lives of two friends - one the victim and the hero of the story and the other a caring friend who saw it as his duty to bring the story to light - were changed forever.

To see more about the book and documentary, visit For more information contact Alli Baer, VUJC student activities coordinator, at 812-481-5941 or